Summoned to Thirteenth Grave (Charley Davidson, #13)

Summoned to Thirteenth GraveSummoned to Thirteenth Grave
by Darynda Jones
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9781250149411
Series: Charlie Davidson #13
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Pages: 292
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Charley is dead angry. She’s been kicked off the earthly plane for eternity—which is exactly the amount of time it takes to make a person stark, raving mad. But someone’s looking out for her, and Charley’s allowed to return after a mere hundred years in exile. Surely not that much has changed since then…right?

She’s missed her daughter. Reyes. Cookie and Garrett and Uncle Bob. Now that Charley’s finally back on earth, it’s time to solve the burning questions that still need answering. What happened to her mother? How did she really die? Who killed her? Is a batch of cupcakes the best medicine to mend a broken heart? The epic showdown between good and evil is about to begin. . .


The last book in the series; the one meant to wrap up all the loose ends, and it does so admirably.

When I read the first book, I liked it for the mysteries and the humor, though the humor was a little over-played (her penchant for naming everything grated on my nerves, and though she never stops doing it, it plays a much smaller part in the narratives of future books).  As the series progressed, I still read them for the mysteries and I enjoyed the humor more because it became more balanced, but I also got stuck into the mythology Jones was using for the overall series arc.  And I genuinely became attached to the wacky cast of characters that surrounded Charley.

This final book winds up the arc concerning the prophecies involving Charley and Reyes – and keeps the possibilities open for a future series featuring their daughter and her prophesied battle against Lucifer.  Since the 13th book was meant to be the finale, there are no loose ends or questions – though there were a couple of didn’t-see-that-coming twists, one full-blown M. Night Shyamalan shocker, and a single misty-eyed moment I’m wiling to admit to.

The only bit that left me disappointed was the end-end; the part where we find out what Charley and Reyes do.  It’s not anything short of a happy ending, but I didn’t like it.  I get it, and I get why it was the perfect ending, but I still didn’t like it, and mostly for juvenile reasons.

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While I’m sad to see the story end, and sad I won’t see the gang anymore, I’m happy with the series ending now rather than past its prime, and Darynda Jones has a new series coming out next year that sounds like it might be fun, so perhaps I’ll have a new series to love and look forward to.

 

I read this book for Halloween Bingo’s 13 square.  13 in the title, and 13th in the series.

Thornyhold

ThornyholdThornyhold
by Mary Stewart
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9781444715064
Publication Date: May 26, 2011
Pages: 220
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction
Publisher: Hachette Books
 

Interesting… unexpected in a lot of ways.  Not sure what to really say about it beyond I enjoyed it and found it an easy story to fall into.

Gilly has a lonely childhood, punctuated by rare visits from her mother’s lively, magical cousin and namesake.  After the death of Gilly’s parents, she gets a letter informing her she’s inherited her cousin’s house, Thornyhold, as well as her reputation for being a witch.

This story would never survive today: people would complain that nothing happens, there isn’t any plot.  I suppose at its heart it’s a romance, but the romance is so subtle as to be non-existent; the leap Gilly makes from acquaintance to love is startling even by today’s insta-love standards.  But boy, can Stewart write some atmosphere; and the characters are alive and compelling.  I got 75% of the way through before it occurred to me that nothing was really happening: no building tension, no climatic showdown approaching.  The ending was comic, which was totally unexpected and charming.

I think I’ll buy myself a copy of this one; I finished it feeling like I’d read a good comfort read – perfect for a rainy afternoon.

On the Edge

On the EdgeOn the Edge
by Ilona Andrews
Rating: ★★★
isbn: 9780441017805
Series: Novel of the Edge #1
Publication Date: September 29, 2009
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Ace

 

I love the Kate Daniels series and the synopsis for this one sounded pretty good; a place where two worlds overlapped – an in-between space only certain people could live.  Intriguing.

But… no.  The writing is solid, descriptive, evocative.  But this is much more a paranormal romance than an urban fantasy and animal cruelty is just treated too casually for me; it’s not graphic, but it’s prevalent.

This is also a book that would lose a lot of readers in the first half, especially those with low tolerance for male posturing and non-consent (no rape, to be clear, just the whole ‘I will have you! crap).  Andrews’ here is a bit too clever for their own good (what is the proper pronoun usage for 2 people writing under 1 name?!?):  a lot of readers won’t have the tolerance to stick around and discover just how wrong perceptions are in the first half of the book.

Overall, I’m not sorry I read it, but I won’t read it again and I won’t read the second book (I think there’s a second book…).  I’ll stick with Kate and Curran.

No Nest for the Wicket (Meg Langslow Mystery #7)

No Nest for the WicketNo Nest for the Wicket
by Donna Andrews
Rating: ★★★★★
isbn: 9780312329402
Series: Meg Langslow #7
Publication Date: August 8, 2006
Pages: 259
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur

 

Donna Andrews’ Meg Langslow series is one of my all time favourites and a series I re-read with regularity.

No Nest for the Wicket is one of the best (extreme croquet – really!), as I really enjoy the ones where Meg’s wacky family plays their part (and boy they are the best sort of whack-jobs!). I’ve read no author who can so perfectly write such three-dimensional characters – even the most out there of the relatives seems believable (ok, almost believable).

I think the plot was solid, with lots of red herrings and the murderer ultimately not easy to guess.

I hope Ms. Andrews finds many, many more plots within her as I’ll be devastated when this series ends. (This review reflects the third time I’ve read this book.)